When Aline Chrétien discovered an intruder at 24 Sussex Drive
'We were shocked, but we are all right,' Jean Chrétien told reporters after break-in
But that was, perhaps, an understatement — as it was an alert Aline Chrétien who woke up, spotted the uninvited guest and took swift steps to protect her husband and herself.
The RCMP, on the other hand, had missed the intruder's actual entry onto the grounds of 24 Sussex Drive and into the residence itself.
Jean Chrétien said Aline heard a noise, which sounded like someone walking inside the house, and went to check it out.
'Six to 10 minutes'
The prime minister said Aline called the police. He estimated it took the RCMP "six or 10 minutes" to get there. He said a man holding a jackknife was arrested outside the door of the Chrétiens' bedroom.
"I think that I'm lucky that [Aline] was there," the prime minister said, further telling reporters: "We were shocked, but we are all right."
He would later reveal that he grabbed an Inuit stone carving as protection, as he and Aline waited for the police to arrive.
Why the RCMP took so long to get to the scene was just one question to be sorted out. Another was how the break-in could have occured in the first place.
"How come he got there and if it's the case how come it took us so long to respond?" St-Cyr said, referring to the intruder.
Over a fence, through a window
As the CBC's Julie Van Dusen reported four days after the break-in, the movement along the fence triggered an alarm, but an on-duty guard missed the event on a camera "and thought the alarm had been triggered not by a person, but by an animal."
The RCMP would soon announce plans to increase security at the prime minister's residence and to boost the number of highly-trained bodyguards who protected him. But Chrétien would still experience security issues in future.
In June of 1996, André Dallaire, the man who broke into the prime minister's residence, was found guilty of attempting to kill the prime minister. But a judge found him not criminally responsible for his actions — amid overwhelming evidence that Dallaire was schizophrenic.